The news has been good for Boeing recently. After a few months without new orders and a record number of cancellations, following the 737 MAX grounding three months ago, the sun is beginning to shine on Boeing once again.
British Air parent International Consolidated Airlines Group, SA signed a letter of intent to purchase 200 737 MAX planes. The company’s CEO Willie Walsh, who was a 737 pilot early in his career, reports that, “Looking into the future, we recognize this is a great aircraft.” (ref WSJ.) Walsh recently flew a MAX simulator to assess the flight control change that Boeing has proposed to address and reported that he tested the original flight control system and the upgrade. “It was a very helpful exercise,” he says. “It gave me confidence both in the aircraft and the changes.” Accolades don’t get much better than that. Regulators will soon test fly the Boeing MAX flight control system fix and, as a result, make an assessment that will determine when the MAX can resume flying. Following on the IAG deal, the company also racked up orders for 787 Dreamliners from Korean Air and Air Lease Corporation. Korean Air is purchasing 20 of the largest version Dreamliner and 10 of the smaller version. Air Lease has ordered five of the smaller Dreamliners. And, to cap off a very good week, Boeing announced that Qatar Airways was ordering five 777 freighters, while China Airlines has a similar intent of purchasing six that will assist the company in modernizing its fleet. Disasters with a company’s products always result in some unforeseen fallouts. It’s how the company handles that fallout that counts. Boeing exhibited no hesitancy in getting to work on a solution that would reverse the issues that were reported to have been encountered in these two instances. And, company officials were very clear about describing the two incidents that were presumed to have resulted in the difficulties. As a result of the though review, all airlines have apparently now become aware of the greater care and specificity that needs to be taken in pilot training – particularly with new pilots, who might have encountered the systems only on a simulator, and specifically with aircraft that have had upgrades to earlier systems. All-in-all, the company has performed well in clarifying and expanding the safety of their aircraft. When disaster strikes, it’s all about what is done in an attempt to rectify and remedy that come into play in the long run.